The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit has me stumped. It’s one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever had the pleasure of walking, it’s not very difficult, and it’s only a few hours from Hobart or Launceston. Yet for some reason, we barely came across anyone on it…
- Incredible views over Wineglass Bay
- Freycinet National Park, but without all the crowds
- Finishing each day with a sunset dip in balmy water
Just a couple of hours northeast of Hobart, Freycinet is Tasmania’s oldest national park. It is bordered by the popular beachside town Coles Bay, and includes the famous Wineglass Bay, which has been voted as one of the world’s top ten beaches more than a few times.
Coles Bay gets so busy in summer that you have to enter a lottery to secure campsite spots. To escape the crowds, or maybe due to us forgetting to enter the lottery, we decided to walk the magnificent three-day Freycinet Peninsula Circuit.
Before heading off on the circuit, we had a quick jaunt up Mt Amos. It only takes a few hours and gives much better views over Wineglass Bay than any of the mountains you climb on the Freycinet Peninsula Circuit. If that tickles your fancy, Brittany wrote a great microadventure report you can (and should) check out here.
After tackling Mt Amos, we set off for Hazards Bay, taking on the circuit counter-clockwise. The walk to Hazards Bay is a cruisey track with some slight undulations and then a few kilometres on the beautiful beach itself. Walking in the heat of summer, we’d definitely earned a swim by the time we reach Hazards.
We were treated to blue skies, miles of white sand, glassy water and no one in sight. Not to put ideas in anyone’s head, but it may or may not be the perfect spot for a daytime skinny-dip, if you’re into that kind of thing…
After soaking up the rays at Hazards Beach, it was onto Cooks Beach where we were camping for the night. Cooks is the last place that you can be certain to get fresh water, so make sure you hydrate well and then stock up for the next two days.
Day two was a hell of a lot more work than we were expecting. 9am saw temperatures already in the high twenties, with promises for it to go much higher as the day continued. Leaving Cooks Beach, a steady climb took us to the saddle of Mt Freycinet and Mt Graham.
Now I should mention that at this point, my feet were in ‘Struggle Town’. But not because we had covered lots of kilometres or faced significant elevation… I may have neglected to mention that the sole had fallen off my boots right after we arrived in Tasmania. Instead of doing the sensible thing and replacing them before our hike, I opted to walk in my Teva sandals. Not my smartest decision.
At the saddle, there is a sidewalk that you can take to the top of Mt Freycinet. It may only be short, but it is a fair climb and the views are lacklustre so we’d recommend giving it a pass. Besides, you’ll summit Mt Graham on your way to Wineglass Bay anyway. If you do choose to head up Mt Freycinet, leave your pack at the fork and collect it on your way back down.
Aside from the lacklustre views, Mt Freycinet is a touchy subject for me. Because coming in a close second in the “not my smartest decision” was deciding to strap my struggling feet up the top. This subsequently led to me dropping the tape off the mountain, leaving my blisters nice and exposed for the hiking to come. Unfortunately, I can’t blame anyone but myself for both the lack of boots and tape.
Back on the trail and passing over Mt Graham, you get a solid view over more of the peninsula, before you start a cruisey 6 km decent to Wineglass Bay. As is customary at the end of any solid day of walking, it’s then time to strip off your sweaty hiking getup and wash the grime away with a plunge into the pristine waters of Wineglass Bay. We then chose to spend the rest of the afternoon snoozing and playing cards, but there is plenty of beach, rocks and cliffs to explore if you are feeling more active than we were.
Aiming to finish of our little jaunt with a bang, we woke just before sunrise for the final 5km up and out of Wineglass Bay. We got one last vista of Wineglass Bay as the sun was popping up and were then back as the car in time to hit up the Freycinet Café and Bakery for a hearty breakfast.
If you’re not ready to tackle a three-day hike just yet but want to avoid the crowds at Coles Bay, consider checking out Friendly Beaches, another camping spot on the Freycinet Peninsula.
- Sunscreen, hat and sunnies
- Tent, sleeping bag and all your other hiking doodads
- Plenty of water bottles – water is only guaranteed at Cooks Beach, which means you need to carry all your water for day two and three when heading off from there.
How To Get There
If you’re coming from Hobart, you’ll just head north up the Tasman Highway for about 150km until you see the signs for Freycinet Peninsula. Follow that and jump onto the Coles Bay Rd, which then becomes Freycinet Drive. Take that all the way through Coles Bay to the end where you’ll hit Wineglass Bay Carpark. The hike starts from there, so Bob’s your uncle, you’re good to go.
Intermediate (some hiking experience)
Distance Covered / Duration
The Freycinet Peninsula Circuit is 38km over 3 days and 2 nights, but definitely add on a few extras and treat yourself to the stunning walk up Mt Amos with even better views of Wineglass Bay. You can technically do this walk in two days, but beaches like that why would you rush it?
If you want more, you can extend it by doing a one-night trip from Cooks Beach out to Bryans Corner and back again the next day. We didn’t have time to fit it in on this little escapade, but have heard it’s well worth the walk.
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